The results of the 2021 Hall of Fame class were announced on January 26, 2021, with a grand total of zero players making it in. A couple of weeks later, the NFL announced that 8 players were elected to the hall of fame. This is a problem. Chicago White Sox pitcher, Mark Buehrle, was one of the candidates on the ballot that did earn enough votes to stick but didn’t get elected.
On a ballot that included 4 players with 500 home runs, 2 players with 3,000 strikeouts, 4 other players with at least 8 gold gloves, a player with 400 saves, and the all-time leader for home runs by a second baseman. Out of all that greatness, not a single player was elected. In fact,14 members of the BBWAA turned in blank ballots.
As mentioned before, White Sox legend Mark Buehrle had a surprisingly good showing in his first appearance on the ballot, garnering 11% of the vote. 11% is a far cry from the 75% needed but Scott Rolen started out at just 10.2 percent of the vote in 2018. Since then, he has improved steadily to 52.9% with the possibility of getting to 75 percent in a few years.
Curt Schilling received the most votes, with 71.1% of the vote. Frustrated with the whole process, he wrote a letter to the hall requesting himself to be removed from the ballot for next year. I’m not sure how that’s supposed to help him, but I would be okay with them removing him as long as they replaced his spot with Pete Rose.
Having zero players make the Hall of Fame is certainly a bad look for the sport of baseball. The Pro Football Hall of Fame regularly elects 4-8 players a year. Both the Basketball and Pro Football Hall of Fame have more elected players than the baseball Hall, despite baseball having been around for much longer.
This is especially dissapointing considering all the deserving players on the ballot. Barry Bonds, Curt Schilling, Jeff Kent, Scott Rolen, and Roger Clemens should definitely be in. Bonds was the best player in baseball for decades, winning 3 MVP’s before he ever touched steroids. Jeff Kent is a former MVP and the all-time home run leader at his position. Kent and Schilling are both statistically deserving but are struggling to get in due to the writer’s disliking them personally.
Roger Clemens obviously used steroids, but baseball did nothing to enforce the rules at the time that he played. There are also already (more than likely) several steroids users in the Hall of Fame. Bonds and Clemens were never officially reprimanded by baseball for their drug use so the Hall of Fame voters shouldn’t either.
After that group, there are borderline Hall of Fame players in the 5x all-star, 60ish WAR territory. Guys like Andruw Jones, Todd Helton, and Mark Buehrle fit that bill. All of them deserved to get in. Among former White Sox players on the ballot, Omar Vizquel did the best, getting 49% of the vote but this was a 3% dip from last year and it may have to do with off-the-field stuff. He may continue to fall farther.
After Vizquel, former White Sox player Andruw Jones improved to 33%, Manny Ramirez was stagnant at 28.2%, Sammy Sosa got 17%, followed by Buehrle with 11%. Of these players, none of them may ever make the Hall of Fame but they are all worthy of some consideration. Andruw Jones may have the best chance but we’ll have to wait and see how Buehrle does on crowded ballot going forward.
Shutting out many of the game’s most recent stars from the Hall of Fame is a very bad look for baseball. It doesn’t bode well for the future of the sport going forward. Either the writers have to do a better job or the process for selecting players to the Hall has to change.